Suicide: the Toronto experience


Over 200 people a year commit suicide in Toronto, Canada, and a coroner’s chart review has analysed the data to determine if there are common features (Sinyor et al. Can J Psychiatry 2014;59:26-33). The sample included 2,886 cases from 1998-2010 in which the coroner ruled that the death was due to suicide. Five clusters were identified based on individual and suicide-specific factors.

Cluster 1 included primarily women; all had depression, a history of prior suicide attempts, and used a nonviolent method. Cluster 2 was exclusively married individuals who had experienced a recent stressor and used a violent method to commit suicide. Cluster 3 was mostly males adults (aged 24-64 years) and had either experienced a recent stressor, had a history of mental illness, or a history of substance abuse. Cluster 4 had the youngest subjects and the largest proportion of suicides by jumping from a height; about one-half had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Cluster 5 was unmarried individuals with no prior suicide attempts, were least likely to have a diagnosed mental illness, and were most likely to leave a suicide note.

The authors noted that a better understanding of the subgroups of people who commit suicide may help in the development of more targeted suicide prevention strategies.

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